Raees vs Kaabil vs ‘Shakira Aahibo Bokultolor Bihuloi’: Assam police today said it will look into reports that a filmmaker has allegedly sought help of anti-talk ULFA(I) through an open letter to ensure that his film on the banned outfit run in theatres in the state. The director, Himangshu Prasad Das, allegedly wrote the letter following theatre owners’ decision to withdraw his film released on January 20, to accommodate Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Raees’ and ‘Kaabil’, with Hrithik Roshan in the lead, which hit the screens today. “We have heard about the case in media. We have to find out. We will look into it within the ambit of law,” Assam Director General of Police Mukesh Sahay told PTI here.
Das, an National School of Drama alumnus, had allegedly posted an open letter in his Facebook page addressed to ULFA(I) chief Paresh Barua seeking help for continued showing of his first film ‘Shakira Aahibo Bokultolor Bihuloi’ (Shakira will come to Bokultol’s Bihu) in the state cinema halls.
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The letter said “…if we cannot remain Assamese, then what will happen to the identity of the community once Assam becomes independent?”
Barua called local TV channels and asked the hall owners to run the film if people want to watch it or else ULFA(I) would oppose it.
“Nobody has approached us yet but we are not taking any chance as well. We are taking proper measures to give security to the cinema halls,” Sahay said.
“If there is any law and order problem, he (Das) will be held responsible. We will take strong action,” Guwahati Police Commissioner Hiren Chandra Nath said, adding measures have been taken to ensure proper security to the theatres here in view of probable protests by some groups.
He was asked if police would take any suo motu action against the director.
Nath said showing a film in a hall is a business agreement between two parties — director and owner.
“It is a business deal between the two persons. In that circumstances, why should the entire society be engaged in such an unwanted situation? You cannot bring the whole society into it.”
Kamakhya Films distributed the film which was released in 46 theatres with 116 shows every day across Assam. But today onwards only 12 theatre halls are running the movie with equal number of shows per day.
An official from the distribution company said ‘Shakira Aahibo Bokultolor Bihuloi’ is now running with less than 50 per cent occupancy at the halls. “In many halls, shows were cancelled due to lack of audience. At the Prerona hall in Agomoni in Dhubri district, a particular show was run with a mere collection of Rs 130.
“Why will a hall owner run this movie?” the official said on condition of anonymity.
He also claimed that the distributor had informed Das of the two Bollywood mega release dates about six months ago but the director stuck to his date.
Reacting to the development, All Assam Students Union General Secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said none can force anyone to watch a film and is against the democratic ethos of the society.
“It is autocratic to force someone to watch. Is Himangshu an autocratic director? You cannot say your film is good and other’s is bad. It depends on public choice,” he said, adding people want good and quality films, which will always be appreciated.
“Moreover, the government must create an atmosphere for good Assamese films to run. We need a comprehensive policy like south and Marathi film industries. Government initiative is main and no one else can help,” he added.